Search & Destroy: Steve Harley & Cockney Rebel

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I cannot answer this question without getting bizarrely and inexplicably sentimental, but am curious as to what others might find, or better yet, how vigorous the shaking of me by the shoulders until i come to my senses will be.

badger, Friday, 4 May 2001 00:00 (nineteen years ago) link

I think the general response will be:

Search: "Come Up And See Me" Destroy: erm...

Greg, Friday, 4 May 2001 00:00 (nineteen years ago) link

Yeah, that was kinda what I was thinkin', Greg. I'd say Destroy: Their name, though.

Ally, Friday, 4 May 2001 00:00 (nineteen years ago) link

That song is freaking great !! What does the rest of their stuff sound like ? Is it worth investigating ? The only other thing I've heard is the cover of their "Tumbling Down" on the Velvet Goldmine soundtrack.

Patrick, Friday, 4 May 2001 00:00 (nineteen years ago) link

That's really what i suspected. A friend used to put his stuff on the stereo presumably to drive me insane with irritation at the weird, sub-Ian Hunter voice, campy lyrics, tacky steel drums, and hokey keyboards.... but then one day, i found out that he was just trying to push me into the same weird corner of the universe that he was in, in which it was so... odd, that it was great. I rather love songs like "Mr. Soft", "Back to the Farm", "Psychomodo", "It Wasn't Me", and "Tumbling Down", but i feel like some kind of creepy fetishist for glam-pop when i do. I don't know whether anyone else got this affection of it, or it really was just a product of hanging at in a house that leaked without much other entertainment.

However, i still enjoy it, and get the same effect out of certain Godley and Creme songs, like "This Sporting Life" and "Sandwiches of You"... seemingly horrid stuff that became fascinating because of repeated playings... because we just had to see how far we could take it.

badger, Friday, 4 May 2001 00:00 (nineteen years ago) link

I'll offer up a vote for "Sebastian" as well, which was covered in _VG_ but isn't on the soundtrack. Having heard the original, it's totally and ridiculously over the top -- and is all the better for it.

Then there was a friend's comment that the best Steve Harley he had ever heard was _Coming Up_. ;-)

Ned Raggett, Friday, 4 May 2001 00:00 (nineteen years ago) link

No-one's mentioned "Judy Teen" yet. So I will - Judy Teen. There.

Dr. C, Sunday, 6 May 2001 00:00 (nineteen years ago) link

Steve Harley: the A.A.Gill of neo-glam

Search: Side one of the EMI Greatest Hits LP: 'Mad, Mad Moonlight'/'Mr Soft'/'Sebastian'/'Judy Teen'/'Mr Raffles' (less 'Here Comes the Sun', which we can hardly blame this prince among ninnies for). Plus 'Make Me Smile'/'Best Years of Our Lives'/'Psychomodo'/and maybe 'Sling It' from Side Two.

Destroy: 'Love's a Prima Donna'/'Tumbling Down' (as he tried to get somewhat less ridiculous, boy did he get more useless...: PD has a coupla great silly moments, but TD is just lame knock-off Mott the Hoople)

"Only meh-tul: what a bore"

mark s, Monday, 7 May 2001 00:00 (nineteen years ago) link

five years pass...
Just forget it, this is the pinnacle of brilliance :

Steve Harley & Cockney Rebel "Mr. Soft" live:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JVcuelx1ni8

White Dopes on Punk (Bimble...), Sunday, 21 January 2007 22:54 (thirteen years ago) link

There isn't a lot of destroy at all, really. A really fascinating band that sadly hasn't had the same amount of attention as similar acts such as David Bowie and Roxy Music.

I consider their first two singles - "Sebastian" and "Judy Teen" - their strongest, but there were lots of great moments later too. The strongest album when it comes to all over quality may be "The Best Years Of Our Lives", which features another two of their best singles - the aforementioned "Come Up And See Me", but also "Mister Raffles" which IMO was even better.

Geir Hongro (GeirHong), Sunday, 21 January 2007 23:20 (thirteen years ago) link

there's an hilarious version of 'here comes the sun' by steve harley on youtube.. don't have the link to hand tho

jimbo (electricsound), Monday, 22 January 2007 00:03 (thirteen years ago) link

search the greatest hits, search it again, and then search it w/knobs on. utterly amazing.

to scour or to pop? (Haberdager), Monday, 22 January 2007 00:17 (thirteen years ago) link

I already did in the mid 90s, and I liked it. Which is why I have investigated their albums and found some great stuff there too.

Geir Hongro (GeirHong), Monday, 22 January 2007 00:19 (thirteen years ago) link

Who the fuck is this band?

All I know about them is they have a song called "Make Me Smile (Come Up and See Me)" that I put on my 1975 CDRGO! It is one of the greatest songs ever recorded.

Mr. Snrub (Mr. Snrub), Monday, 22 January 2007 04:29 (thirteen years ago) link

I loved their first two albums as a kid and still do. The Psychomodo is especially ahead of its time, predicting inter alia Talking Heads, Magazine and even PiL within its grooves.

Marcello Carlin (nostudium), Monday, 22 January 2007 09:35 (thirteen years ago) link

Search: Death Trip
Destroy: Dunno... I only know the first two albums

Rombald (rombald), Monday, 22 January 2007 11:44 (thirteen years ago) link

Bimble, you're my hero yet again. That Mr. Soft clip is sooooo great!

Daniel Peterson (polkaholic), Monday, 22 January 2007 14:59 (thirteen years ago) link

Consider Destroying: Timeless Flight with such songs as "Red Is A Mean Mean Colour" all about those terrible socialists who want to steal all your money to build schools and hospitals, etc.

Marcello Carlin (nostudium), Tuesday, 23 January 2007 09:04 (thirteen years ago) link

three months pass...

Sebastian! your lips ruby blue!
My mother said steve harley invented symphonic rock with that!

http://www.themusicindex.com/commerce/pages/html/gottcd020.jpg

alex, Saturday, 19 May 2007 17:44 (thirteen years ago) link

"Sebastian" is great. Possibly his best ever.

But symphonic rock was long since invented in 1973.

Geir Hongro, Saturday, 19 May 2007 21:50 (thirteen years ago) link

classic classic classic

i was about to reference SH in another thread, as well!

Just got offed, Saturday, 19 May 2007 22:08 (thirteen years ago) link

**covers eyes and winces**

No! Marcello did NOT speak badly of Timeless Flight! No! No one is allowed to speak badly of that record. No one. Okay fine, say it's not as good as previous releases if you want, but still...that album got me through about the most difficult period of my life, and I love every single song on it. And I don't really know what Red Is A Mean, Mean Colour is about, nor do I care. He likes to throw curve balls in his lyrics and I love him for that.

Bimble, Sunday, 20 May 2007 00:17 (thirteen years ago) link

one year passes...

oh dear look what they've done to the blues blues blues

Geese Is The Word (Bimble Is Still More Goth Than You), Saturday, 27 December 2008 09:14 (eleven years ago) link

four weeks pass...

I just pulled out his bonus tracks from the Timeless Flight album. "Throw Your Soul Down Here". Jesus, he was good. I mean when he was good he was really fucking good.

Druid-y Witchy (Bimble Is Still More Goth Than You), Monday, 26 January 2009 06:39 (eleven years ago) link

MAD MAD MOONLIGHT FUCKERZ

Druid-y Witchy (Bimble Is Still More Goth Than You), Monday, 26 January 2009 06:40 (eleven years ago) link

WAY UP TO THOSE BIG FLUFFY WHITE CLOUDS

Druid-y Witchy (Bimble Is Still More Goth Than You), Monday, 26 January 2009 06:43 (eleven years ago) link

Dan Peterson, Monday, 26 January 2009 15:42 (eleven years ago) link

three years pass...

First two albums are total classics (especially Psychmoodo, which is perfect).
'Best Years' is good, but nowhere near the level of the first two.
'Timeless Flight' and 'Prima Donna' are totally schizophrenic: moments of genuine oddness mixed with total limp dick 70s soft rock. Oddly tune-less at times.

Destroy everything after that w/o hesitation!

mr.raffles, Friday, 29 June 2012 13:50 (eight years ago) link

Psychmoodo!

mr.raffles, Friday, 29 June 2012 13:50 (eight years ago) link

yeah i like timeless flight a lot, really odd record i can't really put in with anything else

wack nerd zinging in the dead of night (upper mississippi sh@kedown), Friday, 29 June 2012 15:30 (eight years ago) link

three years pass...

Is this group more or less totally unknown in the States? Whenever I feel the need to put on "The Human Menagerie" I'm reminded that I hear this dude in a lot of different bands, like Belle & Sebastian, but I don't think I've ever heard them cited as an influence.

Josh in Chicago, Friday, 27 May 2016 18:44 (four years ago) link

Yes, other than a few cities like Cleveland where he got play on WMMS.

Double Nickels on the Pecunidigm (Dan Peterson), Friday, 27 May 2016 19:03 (four years ago) link

i like timeless flight more and more as some weird midground between bowie and steely dan

rockpalast '82 (upper mississippi sh@kedown), Friday, 27 May 2016 19:27 (four years ago) link

Yes, I never knew who they were growing up and didn't discover who they were until a few years ago. Didn't even pick up on those tunes of those that appeared in movies or television series on the soundtracks.

Son of Shaftway (James Redd and the Blecchs), Friday, 27 May 2016 19:32 (four years ago) link

I had access to promo radio 45s as a teenager, loved my copies of "Sebastian" and "Tumbling Down" and so ended up tracking down the early LPs. Eagerly anticipated Timeless Flight as a brand new import LP, and subjected everyone I knew to Face To Face Live, still one of my favorite 2-record live albums of the era.

The invention of Youtube was a godsend for finally seeing stuff like Cockney Rebel on Top of the Pops.

Double Nickels on the Pecunidigm (Dan Peterson), Friday, 27 May 2016 19:47 (four years ago) link

I don't really know anyone in the US who isn't over 50 and extremely invested in music who knows them. Kind of bizarre actually. I'm surprised that Noah Baumbach hasn't put them on a soundtrack yet (unless he has).

dlp9001, Saturday, 28 May 2016 00:51 (four years ago) link

I am over 50 and still can't think of anyone I know who knows who they are apart from myself.

Son of Shaftway (James Redd and the Blecchs), Saturday, 28 May 2016 01:42 (four years ago) link

I don't why I never read about them in the Harmony Illustrated Encyclopedia of Rock.

Son of Shaftway (James Redd and the Blecchs), Saturday, 28 May 2016 01:46 (four years ago) link

I'm 45!
Got into them after the Church cover of "Ritz" in 1996 or so.
You could pick their records up mad cheap in Boston. My first was that 'A Closer Look' comp for $5 at In Your Ear.

As an American, I guess I was thinking: Duran Duran cover (Reflex b-side), mentions around Suede, then the Church cover.
Plus, it seemed he was a figure of ridicule, at least in the press around Suede.
Seemed worth the investigation (and was).

mr.raffles, Saturday, 28 May 2016 06:29 (four years ago) link

The fact that "Come Up And See Me" hasn't been used on a major US movie soundtrack (to my knowledge) is completely baffling. Everyone who hears that song loves it, etc.

dlp9001, Saturday, 28 May 2016 16:04 (four years ago) link

Believe it can be heard in Velvet Goldmine.

Son of Shaftway (James Redd and the Blecchs), Saturday, 28 May 2016 16:39 (four years ago) link

Duh to me. I haven't seen that since it came out. I was thinking of more mainstream movies, but yeah.

dlp9001, Saturday, 28 May 2016 16:43 (four years ago) link

VG not exactly a US movie, but probably big enough to qualify in any real-world sense of the word. I had to double-check.

dlp9001, Saturday, 28 May 2016 16:47 (four years ago) link

I don't why I never read about them in the Harmony Illustrated Encyclopedia of Rock.
― Son of Shaftway (James Redd and the Blecchs)

Very influential book for me--you sure they're not in there? I'm picturing the entry...Anyway, love "Come Up and See Me." I'm not sure if I came to it through Velvet Goldmine or through it showing up once on a Frank Kogan Top 100.

clemenza, Saturday, 28 May 2016 17:38 (four years ago) link

They must have been in there, clemenza, I just don't remember them. Unlike the Sensational Alex Harvey Band, who seemed to be mentioned on every other page.

Why You Wanna Treeship So Bad? (James Redd and the Blecchs), Saturday, 28 May 2016 17:48 (four years ago) link

I'm not going cute here: one thing that delayed me hearing them was not realizing that they weren't Cockney Rejects. I wouldn't be surprised to learn that that was anot issue for others.

dlp9001, Saturday, 28 May 2016 18:07 (four years ago) link

They're in the '77 reprint of the Harmony book under Cockney Rebel.

http://i1059.photobucket.com/albums/t427/sayhey1/harley_zpswv1rohqz.jpg

I was wrong about being able to picture the entry, though--I thought there was an album cover reproduced, but it's just text.

clemenza, Saturday, 28 May 2016 20:35 (four years ago) link

Cool. Never actually owned a copy of that book, just would go study it in a bookstore/gift shop. That and All Together Now, a Beatles discography. I learned a few years ago that Will Hermes grew up in a neighborhood close to that store and sometimes wonder if he might have been reading those books as well. Projection no doubt.

Why You Wanna Treeship So Bad? (James Redd and the Blecchs), Saturday, 28 May 2016 20:52 (four years ago) link

It's one of five books that account for a large percentage of my record collection (a third to a half?): the Harmony encyclopedia, the Stranded discography, the red Rolling Stone guide, Christgau's '70s book, and Lillian Roxon's encyclopedia.

clemenza, Sunday, 29 May 2016 15:55 (four years ago) link

Sure.

Why You Wanna Treeship Borad? (James Redd and the Blecchs), Sunday, 29 May 2016 16:04 (four years ago) link

For me it was Rolling Stone guide, Xgau, and I'm embarrassed to say but the Spin Alternative Record Guide. Trouser Press added some interesting tangents. As I recall, the big question marks in my younger days were Can and Faust, who were completely outside of my record store experience growing up in NJ. Apparently things were different in England.

dlp9001, Sunday, 29 May 2016 17:48 (four years ago) link

Sebastian

Why You Wanna Treeship Borad? (James Redd and the Blecchs), Tuesday, 31 May 2016 00:02 (four years ago) link

Oh crap, Brett Smiley died earlier this year. I was checking on other contenders in the affected glam rock genre. His bio is wonderful, and I was kind of rooting for him.

dlp9001, Tuesday, 31 May 2016 01:09 (four years ago) link

four years pass...

just dropping by to confirm that The Psychomodo is a goddamned masterpiece

Chip-vill-A (imago), Tuesday, 13 October 2020 21:19 (two weeks ago) link

the album and the song, but I knew the song already. the album however only now turns out to be a masterpiece

Chip-vill-A (imago), Tuesday, 13 October 2020 21:20 (two weeks ago) link


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